My Own Thoughts on Democrats and Mormon Bigotry

First, let me say upfront that I believe most Democrats, just like most Republicans either have no issue with Mormons or are totally indifferent. (Which works out to be essentially the same thing.)

However, I wanted to chime in with my own point of view on this.

First, the politically liberal Mormons making comments have no issue admitting that some democrats dislike or even hate Mormons. So this seems to be a ‘fact’ for our purposes.

One argument that has come up several times now though is that some Democrats, while willing to use Romney’s Mormonism as a weapon against him for political reasons, have no issue with liberal Mormons like Harry Reid. I, for one, have no argument with this. So we’ll take this as a ‘fact’ as well.

The argument seems to be that this is some how not as bad as what the Republicans are doing since Republicans that hate Mormons hate them even though  they politically agree. Thus, so goes the argument, it’s really about politics for liberals and Democrats and not about religion. Again, no contention from me. So we’ll take this as a fact as well.

Now here is my questions that I’ve been mulling over in my mind. Suppose there was someone that was strongly politically opposed to Barrack Obama (who I voted for, btw). Suppose that they were ‘not prejudice against African Americans.’ Suppose that we even had strong evidence of this: namely that they loved Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, etc. They wouldn’t in a million years dare to make any sort of racial remark about them and they get angry if someone else does.

But suppose that this person hated Barrack Obama’s politics so much that they felt beating Barrack Obama was their top priority. And suppose that this person had strong reason to believe that calling attention to Obama’s race would be an effective deterrent for some people (not him) not voting for Obama that might have otherwise voted for him.

So this person starts to call into question Obama’s competence because he’s African American. And he makes racial slurs, etc. But the fact is, he’s really only doing it for political reasons.

Is this hypothetical person not a bigot? Are they better than or worse than a ‘real bigot’ in your mind?

19 thoughts on “My Own Thoughts on Democrats and Mormon Bigotry

  1. As I said in the other thread, the goal should be a society where religion and race are completely separate from the discussion. God does not look at Obama and say, “there goes an African-American.” He looks at him and evaluates what kind of person he is based on completely different criteria with a tremendous amount of sympathy and love. From a political perspective, we should do the same things: ie, what are his policies, does he have a good character, is he likely to be successful, are we on the right path, etc? If people appeal to race at all, they should be called out as bigots.

    The same thing applies to Mitt and religion. What is his ideology, what is his record as a governor of Massachusetts and leader of the Olympics, what is his general character, do we think he would represent the country well in international settings, etc, etc.? Anytime people appeal to religion, they are not only violating Article VI of the Constitution but are bringing up subjects that are extraneous to a proper discussion of qualifications in the same way we would if we judged Obama on race. So, if Mitt’s religion is highlighted by opponents it is, in my opinion, a sign of bigotry, and the people doing so should be called on it.

  2. It’s almost impossible to take Bruce’s hypothetical situation seriously, because acknowledging racial bias, even for political gain, is just way too culturally abhorrent. It’s perfectly acceptable to accuse others of racism in the most wildly improbable ways, but to admit that you would indulge in it for political gain is beyond the pale.

    But if you get past this, I think it’s a good point. But it also brings up another point: why is it OK in our culture to hold openly hostile and prejudicial attitudes towards Mormons, Muslims, or Hispanics but not blacks, Jews, or Christians?

  3. Geoff,

    I’m actually going to disagree with you to some degree. I think there is a line of logic by which ‘religion’ should not be considered off limits when voting (though still off limits on reporting the news).

    It goes like this:
    1. I know Mormons often believe in X, Y, and Z politically because it ties into their religious beliefs (anti-abortion, conservative capitalism, anti-gay marriage, etc.)
    2. I perceive Mitt Romney as a believing Mormon, therefore I can probably infer he believes in X, Y, and Z politically.
    3. Therefore, I see this as a probable insight into his real political positions.
    4. I disagree with X, Y, and Z, therefore I will not vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon.

    I see this as voting based on religion, but I do not see it as in any way bigoted.

    Now ironically, in the real case of Mitt Romney, the fear is that he *isn’t* an anti-abortionists and is pro-gay marriage. Therefore, its hard to see how the above argument could be used on Mitt Romney in real life.

    I think the key thing here is that “being Mormon” is “evidence.” It’s a useful piece of information that does give you certain probabilities about what they really believe on issues you care about.

    I think as long as its handled the way I just outlined, the above is fine.

    I think by the same token, someone voting for Mitt Romney “because he’s Mormon” using the same line of logic is also in no way bigoted. Of course someone that you perceive as the same faith as you is more likely to care about the issues you care about.

    Of course the line of logic might be wrong (as it may well be with Mitt Romney on certain issues.) But I’m not sure its enough to make this an invalid point of view. Also, if someone is using the above line of logic, and then they notice later there is good evidence that their probability scheme is wrong (say they notice Mitt Romney consistently votes in favor of gay marriage) then this person would quickly abandon use of relgion as a proxy of real beliefs given that they have better and more direct evidence now.

    However, let’s compare this to a hypothetical Evangelical that has decided to not vote for Mitt Romney because he’s Mormon and because Mormons believe “Satan and Jesus are Brothers” and you don’t want anyone in the White House that thinks Jesus and Satan are equals.

    Now clearly this is all just a misunderstanding of Mormonism and is pretty easy to fact check. In this case, our hypothetical person is a bigot. Not because “they won’t vote for a Mormon” but because they allowed their desire to dislike other religions warp their ability to see them as they really are.

    So long as a person is “not voting for a Mormon” because it’s a proxy for their political issues, I just can’t see an issue with it. Going on to claim that they should wipe such a thing out of their minds on the grounds that use of religion as ‘evidence’ at all is bigoted strikes me as inhuman and impossible anyhow.

    So to me this is like anything: you’re not a bigot because you are wary of a Mormon, you are a bigot because you treat Mormons in intolerant ways.

  4. Nate says: “It’s almost impossible to take Bruce’s hypothetical situation seriously, because acknowledging racial bias, even for political gain, is just way too culturally abhorrent. It’s perfectly acceptable to accuse others of racism in the most wildly improbable ways, but to admit that you would indulge in it for political gain is beyond the pale.”

    Nate, this is the whole point.

    We have a different and inconsistent view of what we consider ‘intolrance’ towards racial minorities than we do towards other types of minorities. Religion in particular. There is a double (or multiple) standards. We are culturally not even close to consistent. Certain groups are considered ‘protected’ and other groups are considered ‘open season.’

    I look forward to the day when people look back at Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher and shiver at their blazen bigotry the same way we do to our 19th century forefathers on racial issues.

  5. The problem is that we are implying that religion does not–or should not–have any bearing on what we believe politically, as if it was no different from taste in literature or movies. Don’t we believe that our beliefs impact how we vote, what we value, how we understand science or the role of the individual and the state? Hasn’t Elder Oaks argued that religious values should have a spot at the political table of opinions? So then couldn’t religion at some level impact a candidate, in a way in which race doesn’t?

    I, for one, would not be comfortable voting for a Scientologist–that religion seems heavily manipulative, corrupted by money and star power. I don’t feel like I could trust someone who participated in it. If, however, I saw a number of Scientologists appropriately participating in American politics w/o any negative impact, than I’d be more comfortable with it. And I believe Mormonism has long ago won that trust.

    It’s a double-standard to say that a candidate’s religion should no have no bearing and also say that religious values should be an acceptable position for citizens to base their votes on.

  6. I agree with those who say that religion deserves a place at the table in people’s thoughts about for whom to vote. Even Jeffres and his comment to me has its place, if evangelicals really feel duty-bound to vote for only an evangelical. I think his whole ‘cult’ thing was a signal to his fellow evangelicals that having an evangelical in the race should matter to them an awful lot. Everyone has their things at the top of the list that they are looking at when deciding on whom to vote for. I think we have to respect others’ lists, even if we strongly disagree with their effectiveness, and even if that means such discussion can have its downsides (like perpetuating falsehoods about Mormonism).

    I think this is well said: “It’s a double-standard to say that a candidate’s religion should no have no bearing and also say that religious values should be an acceptable position for citizens to base their votes on.”

    I also think part of the challenge here is that ultimately, so often people don’t really do their homework. So when you do get sensationalized commentary on someone’s religion or history or something, people will often take the “headline factor” as truth and move on, rather than doing their own research (even just reading ‘both sides’ of the headlines with an openish mind). That worries me more than the whole Mormonism factor.

    One last bit of irony to me about Jeffress and his approach is that I hear some expressing concern that Romney would be more of a Mormon-Church puppet than a person making independent choices. And yet, Jeffress was basically trying to make the choice for his followers, whereas LDS leaders are very deliberate about encouraging people to make their own choices about candidates, and they also reinforce that there are elements of truth in all major political parties. ough.

  7. My problem with the word bigot. The word is appropriate with people who reject another persons religious ideas or beliefs or with someone who is prejudiced. The hypothetical person in this sense is not bigoted if you use a dictionary definition. That person needs another description (unprincipaled scumbag?)

    Which is worse? Both are despicable and I am not into ranking despicability. I’ll leave it to those who have an internal despicabilty meter.

    You are correct in that it is easier to attack a person’s religion than his or her race. We see that in the almost universal use of “dog whistle” ads where no direct attack is made on the basis of race, but a key word, image or picture
    conveys the message by implication (good examples are the Willie Horton ad and the 2000 Karl Rove inspired push poll question where South Carolina Repubicans were asked, “Could yote for John Mccain if you knew he fathered a black child?)

    In contrast, we hear a lot of anti-Church attacks of a direct nature from the Religious Right. More telling is the failure of other candidates to repudiate these charges and statements (the strongest, if not only, repudiation came from a Democrat, Vice President Joe Biden)

    At this point, all the anti-Mormon statements from Democrats are almost non-existant (Lawrence O’Donnell excepted) There has been a hint of a “dog whistle” campaign later if Romney gets the nomination. This would be done by calling Romney “strange” and assuming pople will take that to mean his religion.

    As much a loyal Democrat as I am, I am not so naive as to think the silence is because of our better nature. Let the Republicans batter themselves, it would be counter productive to get involved now.

  8. Ha. the ‘ough’ was not an exclamation, but remnants of something I had typed earlier but not fully erased. (Although I may use that sometime as an ‘ugh’ ‘ow’ ‘sigh’ combo sometime.)

  9. Note that in comment #1, I say that “character” is and should be relevant for a candidate. “Character” can mean different things for different people. If you are an evangelical and want to say that “character” means that only people who go to an evangelical church are acceptable, I guess that’s OK, but I find it just as limiting as saying, “I’m voting for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon.” When I think of “character,” I think: “is he honest, will he have integrity and try to keep his campaign promises, will he avoid being influenced by special interests, does he understand the concerns of everyday Americans who have families, has he been loyal to his wife?” Personally, I think having character means you will make the right decisions at critical times.

    Still, at the end of the day, many character traits are not as important as the primary charge of the president, which is to develop peace and prosperity in the United States. I keep on coming back to the following thought: what would I rather have, a president who helped creates peace and prosperity but has significant private character flaws (think Clinton) or a president who has very good character but brings war and bankruptcy (think Bush and Obama)? I choose the former, although I’d like to think that someday we will have both.

    Just a reminder of what Article VI of the Constitution says:

    “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” To the extent that people are making such a religious test of Mitt Romney, they are violating the Constitution in addition to be bigots.

  10. Geoff

    The Constitutional language on religious tests originally only applied to the U.S. Government and nothing else. At least 12 states had such limitaions ( Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania,Georgia,New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey Massachusetts, Mississippi and Maryland). The state Constitutions varied in definition: Pennsylvania was a belief in God. Maryland being a Christian, Georgia being a Protestant and Delaware a Trinitarian Christian. With the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all states eventually were forced to drop such barriers.

    We do have a number of civil rights laws banning discrimination on the basis of religion, however none apply to your vote and how you make up your mind for whoim you will cast your ballot.

    I assume you meant “the spirit of the Constitution” with your last comment.

    Two non sequitirs:

    1. I cannot find when Delaware changed, but if the ban lasted to after the Civil War, some church members in Delaware (if any) would not have been allowed to vote. I wonder if there were places where just being a Church Member took away your franchise?

    2. The attempt by David Barton and others to say we were founded as a Christian Nation has some backing in the early state consitutions, but the fight seems to be over the U.S. Constitution where thery hve a very weak case.

  11. ““No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.””

    Hm. I still read this and am not convinced that this means, “Any voter who considers a person’s religious beliefs when voting is violating the Constitution.” (Even as I think that looking only at religion, such as Jeffress has done (or, on the flip side, people voting for Romney only because he is LDS), is an irresponsible way to vote.) I see this more as saying the US cannot reject someone in an office or public position on the basis of religion.

  12. I think I work well as a test case here.

    1) I’m as some of you know a fan of Mormonism. I have a good track record of saying of saying positive stuff about the Mormon religion and defending it publicly.

    2) I’m a hardcore Democrat, donate, vote a straight ticket…. if they have a D after their name I’m voting for them. I only have to make choices during primaries and local non partisan elections. I’m one of those people that think Barack Obama is doing an excellent job fighting against a Republican party actively sabotaging the country.

    3) I was and still am of the opinion that playing the religion card is unlikely to happen. I think I even said it on millennialstar a few months back that Barack Obama had no intention of playing the Mormon card because of his vulnerabilities on UCC. IMHO when push came to shove Evangelicals who are economic liberals — the people likely to be influenced by those adds — have more in common religiously with the LDS than the UCC. Further I’ve seen how badly Catholics, a key constituency for Ohio, PA… react to playing this card.

    But I’ve heard far to many credible sources say that the Democrats are going to play the Mormon card to just dismiss it.

    So given that here is how I look at it.

    Encouraging discrimination is a vile tactic and I wish it were not part of our political system. That being said, since the large immigration waves in the 1880s it has been a part of American politics. TheRepublicans in 1928 against Al Smith made is a center piece of their campaign. Over the last generation the Republican party has made a southern strategy a key component of their campaigns focusing on exacerbating racial tensions in the south flipping the entire region from Democratic to Republican and turning legitimate fears about crime into a prison industrial complex with some of the least effective while simultaneously most inhumane in the western world, which has severely damaged the lives of hundreds of thousands of African American men in states throughout the nation at extraordinary cost.

    Mitt Romney is right now running a ferociously anti-Hispanic campaign, playing to cultural, religious and racial antagonism. Further Romney evidentially intends to make the center piece of his foreign policy the idea that the president, who is responsible for currently about three times as many assassination as all former US presidents combined and led a surge in Afghanistan is not willing to kill enough brown people and Romney seems to be promising if elected he is going to make sure to add hundreds of thousands of Iranians to US body counts. A campaign clearly playing to anti-Islamic fears.

    The LDS church itself has been closely aligned with the Whig and then Republican party since the days of Joseph Smith. And has approved of and encouraged racist, religiously bigoted and anti-homosexual tactics for a half century. In 2004 in particular the LDS was instrumental in a truly ugly campaign which played on anti-gay fears. While I’m not going to blame Mitt Romney for Glen Beck, it is fair to say that the LDS has been supportive of his repurposing 1930s anti-Semitic conspiracy materials as a generic conspiracy against “liberals” and putting them back into the mainstream. While I think the LDS does pay lip service to political neutrality and does not want to the church to be closely identified with the Republicans in the same way Christian Coalition is, in practice the LDS church is about as non political as Operation Rescue, the Sierra club or Code Pink.

    I don’t think there is a single Democrat who wouldn’t love to see an end to racial, religiously bigoted “values voting”. I think all of them would love to have calm reasonable debates about policy options without the identity politics. I think Democrats would love a return to the kinds of politics we had in the 1960s when candidate’s personal lives were generally kept out of the press, and their personal religious opinions were not a subject for comment. Richard Nixon, was a Quaker, a church that is doctrinally further out of the mainstream of Evangelical Christianity than the LDS and yet he was able to win both the nomination and the presidency without the quirks of his faith ever having been an issue.

    However, the Republicans cannot survive with their current positions without identity politics. They would poll around the mid 30′s without identity politics. Mitt Romney knows this and support this. While I think it is unlikely in the end that the Democrats in any meaningful way play the religion card, if they feel that they can do this to win in places like Virginia or North Carolina without negative impact in Ohio or Pennsylvania then I’m not going to begrudge that. If the Nancy Pelosi indirectly helps raise money for a “real Christian” bigot group that emerges in response to Romney winning the nomination, she’s doing her job. These sorts of tactics are terrible but war is hell, and yes I think it is the lesser of two evils. Again I don’t think it is going to happen, so I think Mormon fears on this are overblown.

    After the ugly campaign of 1928 Catholics stopped playing religious identity politics because they understood that if they do it, they lose any moral claim to objecting when it is done to them. This is what allowed Jack Kennedy to be the American president and not the big city Catholic president. It is probably too late for Mormons to make that switch in time for 2012. But if the LDS church were to come out strongly against identity politics and Mitt Romney refused to make use of them, 2012 would be like 1960 not 1928 and we John Huntsman might win in 2016 without the Mormon issue even coming up.

  13. In terms of the no religion test and what it meant.

    During the colonial period and under the articles of confederation many states had a requirement for Trinitarian oaths designed to keep Deists, Quakers… out of public office. The intent was to ban these oaths at a Federal level and for Federal office. However, the language was made more general to prevent other types of oaths with similar effect. At the time the objection was raised it was understood the language was so general that it would allow for a Jew or a Muslim to achieve high public office. Most agreed that the language did permit that, but that was seen as unlikely and thus the language we have remains.

  14. CD-Host,

    I’m sure I’d probably agree with many of the examples you use. That being said, it would seem that in many cases you define ‘bigotry’ as essentially any sort of concern you disagree with that you feel is connected to a group. I.e. it’s more than a bit on the subjective side the way you are using the term. I originally had in mind something a lot more concrete: literally having an issue with a persons religion, race, etc and that is the whole of the concern. So, for example, being anti-illegal immigration becomes “ferociously anti-Hispanic” in your mind. And maybe, in some cases, that’s exactly what is is. But that’s a much much bigger and more complex issue than you are recognizing.

    Now I’m actually very much in favor of making a path to citizenship for illegal immagrants, personally. (I am strongly against Romney on this.) And I agree with Perry on one thing: those that would split up a family are basically heartless.

    But even given that position, I would not make the mistake I feel you are making of confusing anti-illegal immigration with being equivalent to always being “ferociously anti-Hispanic.” Nor would I ever honestly believe that Romney is running a campaign about killing people with brown skin.

    There are real complexities on both of these issues (and some of the others you mention) that you seem to not even be taking into consideration. I can understand why there is a great deal of concern on both sides of these issues and I can see that no answer works out to be ‘really good’. We’re really choosing between bad options at this point. If you’re just going to label those you disagree with politically as bigots at the outset then the word sort of loses meaning since it just means “anyone that isn’t liberal.” It’s not longer a useful word since we already had a word for non-liberals.

  15. Hi Bruce –

    In real life when bigotries are going on they are complex nuanced issues. Using the Al Smith example which you seemed comfortable with, there were real issues regarding Catholics and Al Smith. He really was tied to Tammany Hall, and Catholic politicians in the 1920s really were intermixing Catholic religious charities and the state in ways that violated the notion of separation of church and state. And even on non-Catholic Smith was a huge advocate and proponent of Robert Moses’ ideas of creating “authorities” which were agencies with the powers of governmental agencies and the powers of private agencies and lacking the restrictions of either. And the of course Al Smith was openly advocating and supporting violations of prohibition. It is entirely possible to imagine a sophisticated 1920s Republican seeing the anti-Catholic propaganda being directed at Smith/Catholics as more or less true even while being embarrassed by the coarse religious attacks.

    So my opinion is that in practice, “literally having an issue with a persons religion, race, etc and that is the whole of the concern” doesn’t exist. Those concerns are in practice tied up with other issues, they always have been. The Klan was originally primary concerned about how a resident minority population loyal and supportive of the foreign colonists. To a klansmen blacks were scalawags fully supporting the carpetbaggers, and they weren’t wrong.

    I’m not disagreeing with you that in real life these issues are nuanced. I find it curious that of the 3 main types of illegal immigration:
    a) H1B violations by companies
    b) Students overstaying their visas
    c) Mexicans crossing the border illegally.

    (c) is the sole focus of Romney. I can’t recall him ever even discussing (a) or (b). It seems pretty clear that he is concerned about illegal Mexican fruit pickers but indifferent to illegal Indian programmers or illegal Chinese biologists. Now that being said, there are class issues at play here too, and companies that donate heavily to Romney are much more likely to be involved in violations of types (a) and (b) than (c).

    It is entirely possible to defend a focus on (c) in non-racial terms. It is entirely possible to be opposed to amnesty programs in non racial terms. It is entirely possible to be opposed to family reunification in non racial terms. It is entire possible to be opposed to federal assistance for south western state public education in non racial terms. It is entirely possible to opposed to subsidized college in non racial terms. But someone holds all those opinions, they are acting like a bigot. They may not be a bigot, I don’t think Mitt Romney is a bigot. I think Mitt Romney’s position is most likely what he has advocated most of his career, generous immigration and a fairly easily accessible guest worker program. The strong stance he is taking is purely for electoral reasons. That is to say he is supporting very strong anti-Hispanic laws and actions for electoral gain. I don’t have any problem with calling a policy whose stated aim is the removal of 3% of the American population consisting entirely of 20+% of the Hispanic population as being ferociously anti-Hispanic. If someone wanted to ship 12m Irish back to Ireland we’d consider that person anti-Irish. I don’t think Mitt Romney is a bigot in his heart, but that doesn’t change the fact the positions he’s running on are right of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (an anti-Mexican lobbying group). John Huntsman Jr. is a conservative but he hasn’t had to resort to Romney’s tactics with regard to Mexicans, Romney is not just being a conservative.

    You were accusing me of using the word too broadly. I’m accusing you of using the word so narrowly, as to define away just about every bigot there is.

  16. “So my opinion is that in practice, “literally having an issue with a persons religion, race, etc and that is the whole of the concern” doesn’t exist.”

    I will have to agree to disagree with you on this.

    I specifically talked about the portion of Evangelicals that were shown in studies to have “Mormonism” as their reason (even if they gave another.) I didn’t talk about anyone in particular, just a group we know exists and have a pretty good *statistical* handle on.

    Further, I pointed out and over and over that this wasn’t a majority I was talking about and others had legitimate reasons for, say, voting against Romney. By comparison you are talking about individuals and are basically labeling anyone that disagrees with you as a bigot in some sense. (Though I can appreciate your nuance of not ‘being’ a bigot versus ‘acting like one’ I think the end result is basically the same.) That is the difference to me.

    Had you rewritten the above to reference the specific groups that did take these stances for racial reasons, then I’d have agreed with you. Clearly part of those against illegal immigration are doing it entirely for bigoted reasons. I have no doubt of this.

    But your original comment wasn’t talking about those specific people. It was talking about Romney, etc. And back then you hadn’t yet even explained how you saw the difference bewteen being a bigot and acting like a bigot. (A distinction I don’t really accept, but I think it was valuable for explaning what you meant.) So I don’t buy that it’s impossible to separate them out. I did (granted, only abstractly) and you didn’t. That’s the difference.

    I’ll also be happy to agree to disagree with you on the issue of the word being too narrowly or too broadly defined. The word ‘bigot’ to me means someone that is pre judging and basing things on dislike of a race or group membership or false stereotypes. If you wish to rework that word to mean something broader like you are doing, then you have every right to do so. I will not argue with you (or anyone) over the ‘proper definition of a word’ for words have no intrinsic meaning.

    And I appreciate you clarifying how you are using the word differently from me. But I don’t particularly like your definition and have no intention of accepting it past this conversation because it boils down to me having to ask you if someone is a bigot or not since the determining factor is your political views.

  17. The very definition of discrimination is to treat people differently based on race, sex, age, religion…. I gave you a good example of where Romney focuses his attention of Mexicans vs. Asians and you are glossing it over. This is how most inductive argument, including law, works pieces of evidence which in themselves are not definitive collectively present a pattern and a conclusion is drawn. If there are 1000 positions, 500 of which are bad for Hispanics, 500 good for Hispanics and the Republicans hold 400 of the bad ones and 50 of the good ones, the party is advocating anti-Hispanic positions. This isn’t my personal definition, it is the legal definition. Laws are frequently founded to be discriminatory, based on their effects. Under the narrow definition you are trying to use even the Evangelicals you started with wouldn’t qualify.

    Let’s take your original example. I’ll focus on a subgroup: Millennial, Evangelicals which are the most hostile to Mormons. Millenials (voters born 1983-1995) are the most comfortable with diversity. They express comparatively low levels of discomfort with either an atheist (56% vs. 77% for the over 65 population) or a muslim (50% vs. 74%) president. However for Mormons the numbers are reversed they are at (54% vs 39% for over 65). Interesting question why this group that is most comfortable with diversity is the most hostile subpopulation to Mormons and thus likely Romney.

    When you dig a bit the reason your find is they have a strong belief that Mormons are extremely hostile to gay rights. As a point of fact Mormons look like Evangelicals on gay rights issues, but as a result of Mormons having taken the lead on prop 8, Millennials believe Mormons to be considerably more hostile and more focused on anti-gay activity. The one major Mormon activity about the LDS is the anti-gay activities in 2008. That is millennials, including millennial evangelicals broadly support legal gay rights, see Mormons as strongly opposed and react accordingly. They aren’t disagreeing with the Mormon religion in and of itself without reason they are disagreeing with their evidence based (though possibly incorrect) assessment of it. Which under your definition wouldn’t qualify as bigotry because it is issue oriented. (Data from http://publicreligion.org/research/2011/11/2011-american-values-survey/)

    If your definition of bigotry is so narrow that the Klan doesn’t qualify you have a problem with your definition. Anyway your original question was how would Democrats feel about them using this tactic. I’m standing with while they wouldn’t like it, the Republican is profoundly bigoted and Mitt Romney while likely personally not a bigot enables, encourages and fully supports bigotry in practice. If we were discussing John Huntsman I’d feel very differently about the Democrats these tactics, since Huntsman has so far not employed them himself. But I think Mitt Romney career is based on doing daily doing precisely what you fear the Democrats are going to do with regard to appeals to bigoted motives.

    We’ve just come off a period (late 1960s till 1990s) where candidate’s personal religious preferences mattered little. That’s the world that Democrats would like to inhabit. It isn’t the Democratic party that is preventing the US from returning to that world.

  18. “The very definition of discrimination is to treat people differently based on race, sex, age, religion…. I gave you a good example of where Romney focuses his attention of Mexicans vs. Asians and you are glossing it over.”

    Okay, I’ll make one last attempt to discuss this with you and then I’m done unless we get off this broken record.

    I agree the very definition of discrimination is to treat people differently based specifically on race, sex, age, religion…. But then you go on to use the example of Mexicans vs. Asians based on your comment #16. The problem is that this may or may not be an actual issue based on race. It probably is based on race for some and not for others.

    You are, upfront, deciding it’s a race issue based on a certain statistical outcome rather than any known causation. Namely that A and B for your examples aren’t as large of issues as C for Republicans. (Though I would not call them non-issues in the slightest.) Therefore, or so goes your logic, it must be that the determining factor was ethnicity because there happens to be a demonstrable correlation.

    Since that whole line of logic of assuming correlation means causation strikes me as false from the outset, I’m agreeing to disagree with you and the rest of your argument fails with me. You’re not making it out of the gate with me, I’m afraid.

    For me, it’s seems pretty obvious why a non-bigot might put more effort into C rather than A and B. It seems entirely possible to me — indeed likely — that no matter what ethnic group lived south of our border, C would continue to be the main point of concentration. Therefore, I’m very much doubting that for many this is an ethnic issue at all.

    CD-Host, you’re either going to grant me this (if only for the sake of argument) or your not. I can’t control you, so I’m not going to try. If you can’t find it in your heart to even acknowledge the point of view that a concentration on C might (at least for some, if not many, if not even most) not be racially motivated then you have nothing else to say that I’m going to care about since we’ve already found what our definitive point of disagreement is.

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